12 Secrets for Baking GF Gourmet Bake Shoppe Chocolate Chip Cookies
Bringing something new to the party, here! Yes, in the world of chocolate chip cookies, I am officially tossing my hat into the ring with an original recipe for an exceptional gluten free chocolate chip cookie. In fact, this very recipe inspired this blog.
But, that’s not all! I am also going to share why this recipe and its preparation will guarantee you gluten free baking success. Not only that, I am going to provide 12 Secrets for Baking GF Gourmet Bake Shoppe Chocolate Chip Cookies successfully in your own kitchen—just in time for the holiday baking season!
Yes, Virginia. There is a Santa Claus! Well, at least there is a “Mrs. Claus” who cares very deeply for those on restricted diets to include those diagnosed with celiac disease and those allergic or highly sensitive to wheat. So, she rocked her vintage kitchen apron and immersed herself fully into the project last January in hopes of developing a recipe that would spread cheer and gluten free goodness throughout the land this holiday season and, well, bring… Joy to the World!
Seriously, as it happened, it all started with a simple request, a wish. A wish from a girl named Kathy. Just like a Christmas wish, a recipe request came my way for a scrumptious but healthier version of the All-American Chocolate Chip Cookie via my husband, The Big Lug. (Kathy works with The Big Lug.) Normally, I would reach for and depend on nutrient-rich nut flours and/or coconut flour to create a healthier chocolate chip cookie. However, there was one hitch. I could not incorporate nut flours into a grain-free flour blend because Kathy is intolerant to nuts. So, we went with straight gluten free flours to achieve our goal.
What to do? No nut flours? This was definitely going to be a challenge. However, I was up for it and suddenly it was “game on”. After ditching the wheat, I decided to also ditch the rice flour due to its high glycemic index. (Yes, our recipe contains plenty of sugar. So, honestly, why add more with rice flour?) Gluten free chocolate chip cookies made without rice flour? Was this even possible? After all, every recipe I found contained it. Was I completely off my rocker to attempt such a feat? The decision to ditch the rice flour was also because recipes for chocolate chip cookies made with this flour often created gritty, hard and lacey cookies. This definitely was not what we were after.
Knowing that pastry chefs often sneak in bread flour, which is higher in protein, to their AP (all-purpose) or cake flours when baking chocolate chip cookies, and having tried the same myself (in fact, even using all bread flour as with the chocolate chip cookie recipe from Chef Bo Friberg’s book, The Professional Pastry Chef) I knew that my flour blend should contain plenty of protein flour. Opting for the very best tasting gluten free protein flours, I selected sorghum and millet as well as adequate starch flours to create the ideal gluten free flour blend for our beloved All-American Chocolate Chip Cookie.
Once I settled on the flours, I knew right away that I would be using melted butter to create the cookie dough—just like Cook’s Illustrated did back in January 1996. Then, I forged ahead with the goal of reaching Sweet Gluten Free Victory.
Long before Alice Medrich published her method and popularized “melting butter until it is slightly browned before whisking in sugar” for her chocolate chip cookie recipe in her 2010 cookbook, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies, and long before David Leite published his Quest for the Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie and recipe for the 36-hour Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies, and long before food scientist turned cookbook author, Shirley Corriher, published BakeWise in 2008, it was Cook’s Illustrated magazine that first published and shared in detail the food science behind creating a “gourmet bake shop” chocolate chip cookie with a crispy edge and exterior with a chewy center “to die for” in January 1996 using melted butter. Ever since then, for over 15 years now, I have been making my signature chocolate chip cookies in this fashion. In fact, in certain circles (ha!), I have become “famous” by making them and giving them away.
Here’s the skinny on using melted butter versus softened or room temperature butter. The #1 secret to creating a crispy exterior and chewy center in chocolate chip cookies is to use melted butter when preparing the dough. Forget all that nonsense about refrigerating your chocolate chip cookie dough for 36 to 48 hours or more. Why? First of all, when you “cave to the crave” and desire All-American Chocolate Chip Cookies, you want them now. Your stomach and brain are not even thinking 36 hours or more away. No way! They are both thinking (demanding!) right now. Like, get into the kitchen immediately and whip up these bad boys! So…the sooner, the better. Right? Secondly, because it is important for the dough to be completely “saturated” to create proper “hydration” of the dry ingredients, there is no simpler way than to immerse the dry ingredients in wet, warm melted butter. Plain and simple, you achieve “hydration” immediately this way. Why warm melted butter? Because warm melted butter helps to start the caramelization process by dissolving the sugar in addition to hydrating the flour. It is also best to use eggs that are at room temperature as they more readily saturate or hydrate the dry ingredients creating a very satisfying chewy chocolate chip cookie.
See where I am going? There is no need to refrigerate chocolate chip cookie dough (as is recommended when using the preparation method of creaming the softened butter and sugars) for hours or days on end! Just use warm, melted butter. There. It is out there now. Those are my thoughts on the matter, based on food science of course. Yes, there is a need to refrigerate the cookie dough in this recipe. This is because we used warm, melted butter and we are striving to achieve a very specific texture—crispy edges and exterior with a chewy center. If we baked them right away, without refrigeration, the cookies would spread during baking and be thinner–perhaps even snap when breaking in two after baking and cooling due to the level of caramelization. If this is what you want in your chocolate chip cookie, I say go for it! Chocolate chip cookies with this type of “crisp throughout” texture are desirable as well. If, however, you desire a crispy-chewy texture in your chocolate chip cookie, follow our recipe for success.
Now, what we are after is achieving a thick and chewy “gourmet bake shoppe” cookie—not those flat and hard cookies baked from dough made from melted butter and baked right away. This is truly where magic takes place. All you need is a minimum chill of 2 hours in the refrigerator for this recipe. How great is that? However, it is best to chill the dough overnight in the fridge. So, somewhere between right now and the next day, is where you will need to base your decision on when you bake these exceptional gluten free chocolate chip cookies to satisfy your cravings. Either way, your brain and stomach will thank you for scratching that proverbial itch!
As my story closes, it was several “hockey pucks” and hair-pulling episodes later that I finally achieved what I had set out to do…and, just in the nick of time! It was on Thursday evening, January 26, 2012, that Sweet Gluten Free Victory was mine. Yes, I could officially claim victory after I sampled the first warm, rich and crispy, but chewy-gooey cookie that tasted like sheer heaven right out of the oven. It was bliss.
Just what did I mean by the “just in the nick of time” part? Well, Kathy was going to be reassigned and she was moving away. Friday, January 27th, was her last day. What a wonderful parting gift…to be able to present to her a festive package of freshly baked gluten free chocolate chip cookies made just for her…from a simple wish. Kathy was thrilled! Below is her response.
Kathy’s email following the Chocolate Chip Cookie Challenge (as it came to be known):
Sent: Fri, Jan 27, 2012 11:07 am
Subject: You Rule!Oh boy oh oboy oh oboy Yummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm You Win ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Big Time They are scrumpdilliluscious I’m not sharing OK – well maybe I gave Murray one but nobody else Can I make these for myself? I have a feeling the delish is in the flour – eh? OH Stacy – thank you very much These are the best CC I have ever had … the bag — ahh — one of my favorite places Hugs and Giggles, Kathy
FYI: The bag Kathy was referring to was a small holiday Sur la Table brown bag that I had stuffed with natural fill and tied with a bow made of gold tulle. Inside, the cookies were assembled into two towers of six cookies each and placed into cellophane bags with satin ribbon tied into a bow to close.
Bake your own gluten free chocolate chip cookies like never before and with confidence! You deserve heavenly, gluten free, buttery, brown sugary, crispy-chewy “gourmet bake shoppe” chocolate chip cookies. Just use our 12 Secrets below. You will be victorious! Guaranteed.
Without further ado, please find the 12 Secrets for Baking GF Gourmet Bake Shoppe Chocolate Chip Cookies below. Our recipe and the handy printable follows.
12 Secrets for Baking GF Gourmet Bake Shoppe Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Use melted butter to allow the free liquids to dissolve sugars and saturate flour when mixing dough
- Use a tasty GF flour blend with adequate protein and starches for crunchy and chewy cookies
- Use more brown sugar to granulated sugar ratio for a richer tasting dough and cookie
- Use baking powder with baking soda so that there is enough rise after refrigerating dough
- Use enough guar gum (½ to ¾ teaspoon per cup of flour) to create elasticity in dough for a chewy center
- Use two egg yolks (along with 1 egg) at room temperature for a richer tasting dough and tender, chewy cookie
- Use enough high-quality pure vanilla extract to create a scrumptious, flavorful dough and cookie
- Use fine-quality GF 60-70% bittersweet chocolate chips or bittersweet chopped chocolate
- Use toasted pecans or walnuts, if using nuts, to create more flavor in the baked cookie
- Refrigerate dough overnight to rest dough and allow flour and fat to become firm before baking
- Bake cookies in a 350° F. oven (versus 375° F) for a chewier and less “crisp throughout” cookie
- Bake until lightly browned around the edges but still puffy in center to ensure chewy center
- Mise en Place*
- Toast and chop walnuts or pecans, see Notes below for How to Toast Nuts
- 1 cup (4 ounces) sorghum flour
- ¾ cup (3.5 ounces) millet flour
- ¾ cup (4.5 ounces) potato starch
- ¾ cup (3.25 ounces) tapioca starch
- 2 teaspoons guar gum
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly
- 1¼ cups light brown sugar
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 10 ounces gluten free chocolate chips such as Enjoy Life® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks or fine-quality 60-70% bittersweet chocolate, chopped** (add more if preferred)
- 1 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans, optional
How to Toast Nuts: Preheat oven to 350ºF. Place nuts in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet. (You may line the baking sheet with parchment paper if you wish.) Bake until nuts become fragrant and lightly browned, about 7 to 8 minutes. Stir halfway through baking time and watch closely to prevent nuts from overbrowning or burning. Cool nuts completely before chopping and adding to recipe. To speed cooling process, transfer nuts onto plate and place in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes.**Although not certified gluten free, we used Ghirardelli® 60% cocoa bittersweet premium baking chips in our recipe. They are a favorite of Kathy’s. If you are gluten-sensitive or intolerant, we recommend certified gluten-free chocolate products like Enjoy Life® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks or similar. This recipe was developed in January 2012 before I started using the internationally recognized grams for weight measurement. Look for a revised version of the recipe in the near future. Recipe Notes from the Author *Mise en Place: (pronounced miz on plahs) The literal French to English translation of Mise en Place is to “put things in place” or “everything in place”. It is an important term and practice to learn and adhere to in professional kitchens to ensure that necessary prep work is completed for recipe components in advance. Sometimes, this prep work is even completed the night before for assembly stations to assure recipe success the next morning. Mise en Place is not strictly for ingredients only as the term also applies to the proper planning of equipment. In essence, Mise en Place means “to have all of your ducks in a row” before preparing a recipe by proper advance planning. This means allowing time to toast and chop nuts, plump dried fruits, prepare and chill pastry cream, etc. This author and recipe developer so strongly believes in the importance of Mise en Place that she writes her recipes in a way that, at first glance, it is easy for home bakers and cooks alike to properly allot time to such preparations. A simple subheading can be found directly under the Ingredients header for Mise en Place. The hope is to revolutionize recipe writing to include Mise en Place notations within the Ingredients header.